Political Equator II Conference

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On November 16, 2007 the haudenschild Garage collaborated with the Visual Arts Department of UCSD, inSite, CECUT and Casa Familiar to present the II Conferences: Collective Territories/Territories of Collaboration.

This three-day, trans-border public event took place in San Diego, Tijuana, San Ysidro, and Los Angeles from November 16 – 17 2007.

The haudenschild Garage invited ’s Silvina Babich + Alejandro Meitin (La Plata, Argentina) and Urban Think Tank’s Alfredo Brillembourg + Hubert Klumpner (Caracas, Venezuela) to be in conversation in a presentation moderated by Ariana Hernandez.  This event was organized by , , Grant Kester, and Jennifer Flores-Sternad.

About the Political Equator Conferences

The Political Equator Conferences were launched in June 2006 with an investigation into the theme of Urbanities of Labor and Surveillance. The Political Equator Conferences stage an exploration of the intersection between sociopolitical and natural domains, foregrounding the notion of a collective territory, but also a territory of collaboration that transgresses hemispheric boundaries. At the core of such trans-hemispheric sociopolitical and economic dynamics is the conflict between transcontinental borders and the natural and social ecologies they interrupt and seek to erase. A renewed politics of environmental activism, searching for effective paths to sustainability worldwide, increasingly collides and eventually clashes with the now-ubiquitous climate of heightened security and territorial dominance that is flourishing at the local as well as the global scale. What has been called the “disaster capitalism complex” is rapidly rising to its own form of dominance as global warming and terrorism challenge aging urban infrastructure and threaten fragile ecosystems and economies.

The field of operations represented by the collectives of architects and urbanists brought together for Political Equator ll traces an invisible trajectory across the political equator. This time the axis runs south to north, along which emergent Latin American practices of intervention simultaneously engage the politics of the environment and policies that are shaping contemporary cities. The Political Equator re-emerges in 2007 as a collaboration with Tránsito(ry) Público / Public(o) Transit(orio), following an event-based itinerary that travels from Los Angeles to San Diego to Tijuana, and back again. This provocative series of events and interventions will be hosted by major cultural institutions, neighborhood-based NGOs, and independent alternative spaces, eventually crossing over into the no man’s land of the border zone itself, where the Tijuana River symbolizes the conflicts these collaborative practices seek to expose and engage.

Emergency/Conversation Table

The haudenschildGarage also commissioned Raul Cardenas of Torolab to construct an Emergency/Conversation Table as the stage for exchange between these two groups.

About the Participants
Ala Plástica

Ala Plástica is an art and environmental organization based in Río de la Plata, Argentina that works on the rhizomatic linking of ecological, social, and artistic methodology, combining direct interventions and precisely defined concepts to a parallel universe without giving up the symbolic potential of art. They are concerned with relating the artist’s way of thinking and working with the development of projects in the social and environmental realm. Since 1991 Ala Plástica has developed a range of non-conventional artworks, focused on local and regional problems, and in close contact and collaboration with other artists, scientists and environmental groups. Ala Plástica works bio-regionally, within Argentina, as well as internationally in relationship to other transformative arts practitioners.
Click here to visit their website.

Urban Think Tank

Alfredo Brillembourg & Hubert Klumpner are from The Urban Think Tank(U-TT) a multi-disciplinary design practice dedicated to high-level research and design on a variety of subjects, concerned with contemporary architecture and urbanism. The philosophy of U-TT is to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions through the combined skills of architects, civil engineers, environmental planners, landscape architects, and communication specialists.In each project the design team explores and understands issues generated by the client’s demands. U-TT was founded in 1993 by Alfredo Brillembourg and, in 1998, Hubert Klumpner joined as principal. The office consists of 10 permanent staff members working out of Caracas, Venezuela. In 2003, U-TT expanded its business activities with the addition of a New York research branch called www.slumlab.com at Columbia University GSAPP.
Click here to visit their website.

Raul Cardenas & Torolab

Founded in 1995 by Raul Cardenas Osuna in Tijuana B.C., MexicoTorolab, is a collective workshop/laboratory of contextual studies that identifies situations or phenomena of interest for research. The result of this investigation should, in some way, enhance the “quality of life” (starting with our own). The projects are being developed according to our own competences and collaboration with other artists and experts in the fields that we are studying and investigating. The themes that we have developed until now range from research on the identity of the border region, to housing and security to community building and survival-the areas of concern are as broad and varied as the lifestyles and environs we’re studying. The traces we leave behind with these investigations go from such things as Urban Interventions, Media Projects, Construction Systems, Survival Units to everyday things like furniture and clothing.
Click here to visit their website.

Ariana Hernandez-Reguant

Hernandez-Reguant is a former resident of Cuba. A professor at UCSD, she teaches courses related to contemporary Cuba, such as the cinema of the Cuban revolution, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and revolutionary cultural politics, to globalization and late socialism and to ethnographic approaches to cultural and media production, cultural circulation, and politics of culture with a focus on Latin America. Her expertise includes anthropology and cultural studies, the music business, and socialism. She is also interested in Latin American societies, with emphasis on Cuban politics, culture and their relationship with the United States. Hernandez-Reguant has many publications on topics such as popular culture, mass media and cultural policy in revolutionary Cuba, arts, politics, commerce, value and subjectivity in late socialism, the Marxist theory and cultural production/circulation, as well as Latin American cultural studies.